Afternoon Coffee: One CFO in (Field Nation), one CFO out (U.S. Steel); IBM looks to smarten supply chains; China trade talks resume today

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Top U.S. and Chinese negotiators are set to meet today for the first time since late July to try to work out a path forward from a 15-month trade war between the two nations, according to Reuters.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will try to narrow down the differences to avoid a scheduled Oct. 15 tariff rate increase on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods.

However, the delegates meet in the shadow of the U.S. Commerce Department’s decision on Monday to blacklist 28 Chinese public security bureaus, technology and surveillance firms, citing human rights violations, reports Reuters.

Former SAP Concur CFO joins Field Nation

Jason Woods has been named CFO of Field Nation, a provider of workforce management solutions, after having served in that role recently for SAP Concur, according to an emailed press release.

“CFOs today have their hands in so many interactions across the entire company that it’s crucial to have someone in place with a high level of financial savvy,” said Mynul Khan, CEO, Field Nation, as quoted in the release. “Jason’s experience will help us tremendously as we navigate this fast-paced and ever-changing environment that Field Nation excels in.”

New IBM product's goal: smarter global supply chains

A new product named 'IBM Sterling Supply Chain Suite' tries to take out the complexity from global supply chains and make them smarter and more efficient. The new suite is built on the foundations of Sterling B2B Network and Sterling Order Management. It will enable businesses to integrate critical data, business networks and supply chain processes with IBM’s Watson AI, IBM Blockchain and IoT to provide new competitive advantages as it learns from experience, according to a report in Supply Chain Digital.

Fitbit to move manufacturing out of China

Smart fitness tracker Fitbit has said it had embarked on a plan to shift its manufacturing operations outside of China for its trackers and smartwatches. As a result, starting in January 2020, the company expects those products will no longer be of Chinese origin and therefore not subject to Section 301 tariffs.

U.S. Steel to bring in new operating model to cut costs, CFO stepping down

The American steel producer plans to bring in an enhanced operating model and organizational structure to cut costs. Its CFO will also resign, said the company in a statement, according to The company’s new operating model is scheduled to start in 2020. When it kicks in, the steel major hopes to save $200 million in annual fixed costs by 2022, according to the article.

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